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September 06, 2008


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Rob Hyndman

I think the only real remaining uncertainty is whether polling data accurately reflects actual voting behaviour when it comes to electing an African American. We still don't really know how much of an issue racism is.


I think the absolutely fascinating thing about the closing enthusiasm gap is that democrats have a compelling reason to be enthusiastic about the election and republicans seem to have very little reason. Progressives have suffered at the hands of bush for the past eight years and one of those elections was stolen from them. Civil liberties have been tainted and all efforts to advance the progressive agenda have been met with fierce opposition in the bush administration. The GOP in the meantime has been embarrassed by those same things.

And yet, a bizarre thing like choosing an unknown from alaska who appeals to the christianist base has quelled their fears about a pro-choice vp pick and suddenly the enthusiasm among republicans' enthusiasm has gone from 0 to 60 almost instantaneously - for no other reason than the vp pick represents their values (although i would guess this is more because of a surface-level reading of her than actually representing their values).

Why does this VP pick energize the base? My guess is that there are two reasons. First, most GOP enthusiasm probably comes more from the Christianist base than any other part of the Republican coalition. They are scared that liberals are going to turn the US into a gay country that kills babies and won't let them drive cars any more, and so they see it as their moral obligation to organize so that the country doesn't offend God (because even God drives a car - probably an SUV).

Second, the Christianist base was depressed because it thought it would have no influence in the next administration (Romney, Jindal, Lieberman, Ridge, and even to a degree Pawlenty would not be strong Christianist advocates, much less McCain). They thought the country would go to hell in a hand basket no matter what happened. Now that they think they might have influence through Palin (especially if McCain gets seriously ill or dies as the oldest first-term president to ever be elected), they have become energized again. So I think it has less to do with the fact that the base is "on fire" than it has to do with the Christianists re-organizing to their normal levels because they think they might have influence in the next administration.

The funny thing is that when the GOP has been in power, it has rarely delivered for the Christianists. The main Supreme Court ruling on abortion has stood for 35 years with little that has changed on the core issue besides the polarization in the debate (baby killers vs. woman haters). And gay rights have only been furthered, although not as quickly as most progressives would like.

It's all so interesting....

paul canning

That's a good analysis of the question marks remaining - and a rare mention of the Dems massive organisers-on-the-ground advantage (thanks to the web don't forget).

What I'm just not seeing in any talking head talk is mention of the electoral vote advantage, which has been Obama's since June. Intrade has

Obama win 311 to 227

discount coach

Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

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